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Waste Management and InEnTec Create Joint Venture to Develop and Operate Plasma Gasification Facilities for Synthetic Fuels and Power

Overview of the PEM process. Click to enlarge.

Waste Management, Inc. and InEnTec LLC (earlier post) have formed S4 Energy Solutions LLC, a joint venture to develop, operate and market plasma gasification facilities using InEnTec’s Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM) technology. The joint venture is expected to process waste from the country’s increasingly segmented commercial and industrial waste streams to produce a range of synthetic fuels and chemicals as well as to generate electricity.

S4 Energy Solutions’ initial focus will be to process medical and other segregated commercial and industrial waste streams. The company’s future commercialization plans may also include the processing of municipal solid waste once the technology has been demonstrated to be economical and scalable for such use.

We see waste as a resource to be recovered, and this joint venture with the PEM system will help Waste Management’s commercial and industrial customers maximize high energy value waste streams to generate valuable renewable energy products based on their unique environmental and logistical considerations.

—Joe Vaillancourt, managing director at Waste Management

The PEM system. Click to enlarge.

The system uses a two-stage gasification process. After sizing, waste is introduced to a Stage 1 downdraft pre-gasifier. The pre-gasifier converts approximately 80% of the organic portion of the feedstock to syngas, which is ducted to the Thermal Residence Chamber (TRC). The remaining feedstock, which consists of inorganic materials, carbon, and un-processed organics, pass through an outlet at the bottom of the chamber into the PEM Process Chamber—the Stage 2 plasma enhanced melter chamber.

The plasma arc in the PEM Process chamber rapidly gasifies the remaining organic materials to syngas. The remaining inorganic components are incorporated into the molten glass bath. The syngas exits the plasma chamber and flows to the Thermal Residence Chamber.

The Thermal Residence Chamber provides additional residence time at a high enough temperature to fully process any remaining organic materials presents in the syngas, and allows the gasification reaction to reach equilibrium.

Syngas leaving the TRC is cleaned and conditioned in a series of standard processes. Because the PEM operates at very high temperatures, in an oxygen depleted environment, NOx, SOx, PM and VOCs are greatly reduced, and further reduced in the syngas clean-up phase. The clean syngas which can be transformed into energy products (power generation or transportation fuels production, using the syngas) and industrial materials (chemicals from the syngas; roofing tiles, insulating panels, sand-blasting media and other construction-related products from the glass; and recoverable metals).



I've always wondered what the Return on invested energy these processes have?

Since you can't burn water, I wonder how well it works on waste streams that have any substantial water content?

For medical waste that has to be burned anyway, this is just making that process more cost effective and yeilding new exploitable outputs (syngas).

Making the leap to burning everything else...??


I think the moisture in the feedstock becomes steam and is used for heat in the process. If nothing else, that heat can be used to preheat the incoming mass.


Transforming all waste (via various process) info useful energy is a worthwhile objective even if it cost slightly more than dumping it into huge smelly grabage piles.

Every city should be coerced (with the help of fEd anti-recession funds) to transform all their waste by 2020.


Actually, they do 'burn' the water content. If you transform dry biomass - or any other organic waste - to syngas, you have CO2, CO, H2, ... and a lot of char.
if there is more water in the feed, you do :
H2O + C --> CO2 + H2
Actually it is again a mixture of CO2, CO, H2, CH4, ...

So the hydrogen atoms of the water are translocated to hydrocarbons ; the oxygen of the water is translocated to CO2.
In short, if you want to maximize (bio)char production, use a feed that is as dry as possible. If you want to maximize you biofuel production, add enough H2O.

So, the water content is not a problem at all.


A gas shift reaction occurs when you have CO and H2O with temperature, pressure and catalyst. You need lots of CO and it is not clear that they have this.

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Peat International provides waste management services and converts waste streams into commercial commodity products.
for more details please visit

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